Niger/FCT Development: Jibrin Baba Ndace Chief Press Secretary


(   Jibrin Baba Ndace) Minna:  In an attempt to forstall breakdown of law and order, and sustain existing cordial relationship, maximise the benefit of close ties between Niger State government and the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani-Bello paid a courtesy visit on the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Alhaji Muhammad Musa Bello in Abuja.
Gov Sani-Bello discussed boundary dispute between Niger state and FCT, environmental degradation, remittance of payee tax and infrastructure decay.

On boundary dispute, Niger and FCT agreed to set up a joint committee to resolve the lingering boundary disputes in border towns in the area.
The two leaders agreed to reactivate the joint boundary committee of the state and the territory in order to resolve the boundary disputes and determine under whose purview and control is the land in border towns of Dakuwa and Kuduru between Tafa Local Government area of Niger State and Bwari Area Council of FCT rest.
Governor Sani-Bello had earlier raised concern on the tension brewing over control of land in Dakuwa and Kuduru which bothTafa Local Government area of the state and Bwari Area Council are laying claim to.
The governor drew the attention of the minister to the environmental and developmental challenges in Madalla and Suleja towns in Suleja local government area of the state due to there proximity to the FCT.

Governor Sani-Bello also raised concern over attendant delapidation of public infrastructure in Suleja local government due to increasing number of FCT workers who residing in Suleja and environs without correspondent support from the FCT even when the affected workers are not paying their taxes to the state.

The governor however acknowledged the efforts of the minister at ensuring remittance of PAYEE tax of federal civil servants domicilling in Suleja.
In his reaction, the Minister said both parties must work together and find a lasting solution to the disputed areas, he also stressed the need for the councils and members of the public to take charge of environmental challenges of their areas, especially waste management.

On the non-remittance of PAYEE taxes of federal government public servants residing in Suleja and environs, the Minister said but for on-going verification of the affected personnel, his ministry was prepared to remit such taxes to the state.

The two leaders then directed chairmen of the affected local councils to stop further allocation of land until when the disputed lands are peacefully resolved in order to forstall avoidable crisis and litigations.

Commissioner for Finance, Alhaji Zakari Abubakar and the chairmen of Tafa and Suleja local government council, Honorable Ado Abubakar and Honourable Shuaibu Abdullahi Maje respectively were on the entourage of the governor.


UN Allocates $2m to Support Cholera Outbreak Response in Yobe


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The UN,  through the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund (NHF), released two million dollars to sustain the response to a deadly cholera outbreak in Yobe, North-east Nigeria, that could affect thousands of people.
NAN reports that authorities said since the beginning of the outbreak, which was officially declared in four local government areas on March 28 March, 404 cases and 15 deaths have been reported.
According to a statement by Samantha Newport, Head of Communications, OCHA Nigeria, the UN and its partners activated an immediate emergency response in the affected communities in support of the State Ministry of Health.
“However, additional resources are needed to ensure that the outbreak is contained, especially ahead of the rainy season when the risk of outbreaks and spreading of water-borne diseases is higher.
 “The funds will enable humanitarian partners to provide safe water to over 1.6 million people, improve sanitation for thousands in the affected communities, and boost the technical and human resource capacity in hotspot areas so that cholera can be detected early and treated promptly.
“Raising awareness of how to identify, prevent and treat cholera is also a key part of the response to the outbreak.
“Cholera outbreaks can potentially impact and kill thousands of people, especially women, children and men who are living in overcrowded places such as camps for internally displaced persons,” the UN said.
The UN said surveillance and early detection are key to limiting the number of fatalities and the spread of the outbreak,.
Also, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mr Edward Kallon, saidL “acting swiftly is pivotal if we are to prevent high mortality rates.
“These funds will help the UN and partners strengthen the capacity of community health personnel and equip local health facilities with diagnostic and treatment equipment as the rainy season gets underway and access to some of the affected localities might be impacted by flooding.
 “The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria’s north-east, that has spilled over into the Lake Chad region, is one of the most severe in the world today, with 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2018 in the worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, and 6.1 million targeted for humanitarian assistance.”
The NHF, managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs under the leadership of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, was created to provide funds in a prioritised, flexible and timely manner so those who are most in need of life-saving support.
The NHF is one of 18 country-based pooled funds and was launched during the Oslo Humanitarian Conference for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region in February 2017.
To date, the NHF has raised 49.4 million dollars in contributions and pledges, thanks to the generous support of Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, the Republic of Korea, Canada, Spain, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Arab Gulf Program for Development, Malta, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka.
Of those, the UN said, 49.4 million dollars, 35 million dollars, including the latest two million dollars allocation  have now been allocated to various organisations in support of the humanitarian response in north-east Nigeria.

Yobe IPAC Chairman lauds Gov. Gaidam over achievements in Health, Education Sectors


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Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in Yobe Alhaji Umar Kukuri, said on Thursday that he was impressed by the efforts of the state government in providing dividends of democracy to the people.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that although he (Kukuri) belonged to an opposition party, it was high time Nigerians imbibed the tradition of appreciating the good work of even rival political parties, to encourage selfless leaders.

”Although we belong to opposition party, we appreciate the good works of the Gaidam administration and will build on it.

“Progressive democracy is about service to the people irrespective of our political differences.

“We will appreciate the good work of government even if it does not belong to our political party, to encourage hard work, but will also criticize where necessary, for leaders to sit up,” he said.

Kukuri, who is the also the Yobe Chairman of National Conscience Party (NCP), said he was particularly impressed by developments in the health and education sectors.

According to him, his party will scout for a competent governorship candidate to take over from Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam in 2019.

He said the search became necessary to sustain and improve on the infrastructure put in place by the AP- led government of Gaidam. (NAN)


Kano Govt. Earmarks N89m for Dredging of Drains in 2018


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Kano State Government has earmarked N89 million for dredging of drains and rivers in Kano in 2018 to prevent flooding.

The Commissioner for Environment in the state, Dr Ali Makoda, disclosed this on Saturday after the launching of the exercise at River Jakara in Dala area of the state.

He said that the dredging was an annual event since the inception of the Gov. Ganduje administration in 2015.

According to him, this year, government plans to work on about 67 kilometres of both small and major water ways in the state, which has doubled the side we did last year.

He explained that the state spent about N48 million for the exercise in 2017 but had expanded the scope of the exercise in 2018 due to the anticipation of heavy rain.

Makoda, however, called on the public to support the exercise in every possible way to assist the government in curtailing flood hazard.

The commissioner further appealed to self help groups and individuals to assist the government, especially at places where “its hands could not reach”.

He also warned residents to desist of indiscriminate disposal of waste, especially in drains and water ways, saying the act poses serious hazard to the environment. (NAN)



Photo News: Aisha Buhari Aids Disabled Persons in Zuru, Kebbi



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Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu  flag off a state wide distribution of wheelchairs, insecticide-treated mosquito nets and safe birth kits donated to needy people in Kebbi by the wife of the President according to Maryam Ladan , Special Assistant to Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu in kebbi state.

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Dr Bagudu presented twenty physically challenged persons drawn from across Zuru LGA with modern wheel chairs to aid their mobility. She said the wheel chairs were donated by the H.E. Hajiya Aisha Buhari through her NGO Future Assured as part of initiatives aimed to better the lives of less privileged persons in our society. The same donation will be spread across other local government areas in Kebbi.

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Other items donated by Mrs Buhari are insecticide-treated mosquito nets and safe birth kits.



John McCain’s shocking concession on the Iraq war: It was a “mistake.” 

Sen. John McCain, who has been battling brain cancer, defended the Iraq War for years.

In his new memoir, McCain says he’s to blame for the war.

Sen. John McCain has made a shocking admission: The Iraq war was a “mistake,” and he’s taking the blame.

In his new memoir, McCain who is battling brain cancer, writes the Iraq War “can’t be judged as anything other than a mistake, a very serious one, and I have to accept my share of the blame for it,” Politico points out.

McCain is among the most hawkish Republicans in the Senate and was an ardent supporter of the George W. Bush administration’s decision to go to war with Iraq and a later US troop surge. As Michael Hirsh writes in Politico:

McCain became, in fact, the first supporter of a “surge,” years before Bush and other Republicans did. “I came out of the Vietnam War convinced that frankly we could have won, and we had it won,” he told me in 2014. “Just as I believed we had the Iraq conflict won after the surge—and for which I sacrificed everything, including my presidential ambitions, that it would succeed.”

McCain’s defense of the Iraq War was unwavering, even when it became increasingly clear the United States’ stated intention of establishing democracy in Iraq was not only unrealistic but would take hundreds of thousands of lives. (If you want more about the neoconservative ideology behind the war, how the Bush administration convinced the nation to get into it, and how it turned out, read Max Fisher’s Vox explainer.)

In 2005, when 66 percent of the country viewed the Iraq war unfavorably, McCain doubled down in his commitment to the strategy:

“Securing ever-increasing parts of Iraq and preventing the emergence of new terrorist safe havens will require more troops and money,” McCain said then at an event with the American Enterprise Institute. “It will take time, probably years, and mean more American casualties. Those are terrible prices to pay. But with the stakes so high, I believe we must choose the strategy with the best chance of success.”

The casualty counts for the Iraq War are somewhere between 150,000 to 460,000 and have contributed to the deep instability in the region, which as my colleague Jennifer Williams explains, is “one of the conditions that allowed ISIS to rise in the first place.”

source: vox

FRSC Certifies 15 Transport Companies in Enugu


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The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) on Thursday issued certificates to 15 transport companies in Enugu for meeting the safety standards set by the commission.

The Sector Commander, Mr Edward Zamber, who issued the certificates to representatives of the companies, congratulated them for meeting up with the safety standards.

Zamber told the transport operators not to relent in ensuring that they complied with set rules, to save lives of their drivers and passengers.

According to him, the issuance of the certificates is a call to do more for the transporters to save lives on Nigerian roads.

He said that he was excited that more operators were meeting the minimum safety requirements for transport operators.

Zamber listed the responsibilities of the FRSC to include monitoring, certifying, registering and enforcing compliance with the Highway Code.

He called on transporters to discourage the sale of alcohol in motor parks for the safety of drivers and their passengers.

In a welcome address, Mrs Nwafor Obasi, the Assistant Corps Commander, said that only three transport companies were certified in 2016 in Enugu State.

She said that 15 companies were however, certified in 2017 out of 35 transport companies in the state.

Obasi described the development as encouraging, advising more transport operators to embrace safety measures put in place by the commission. (NAN)


FRSC Pledges Partnership with FCT SWAN for Sports Development


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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on Wednesday pledged to partner with the FCT Chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) FCT to develop sports in Nigeria.

Boboye Oyeyemi, the FRSC Corps Marshal, made the pledge in Abuja while receiving members of the new FCT SWAN Executive Committee and others led by the Chairman, Ndubueze Chidoka.

The Corps Marshal who was represented by the Deputy Corps Marshal, Training, Adewole Lawal, promised to involve FCT SWAN in the coverage of all its sports activities.

He said the Corps was doing very well in all areas of sports it has been involved in, adding that a partnership with SWAN would ensure adequate publicity.

“Partnering with SWAN is a great deal because all our sports activities will be given priority.

“We are also going to ensure that your members will be attached to each of our teams to ensure adequate coverage of our activities,’ Oyeyemi said.

The Corps Marshal also pledged to train FCT SWAN members as Special Marshals as part of FRSC’s effort to reduce accidents on Nigerian roads.

“FRSC welcomes people that will partner with it to reduce crashes on our road. So, I can assure you that the agency will be willing to train FCT SWAN members as Special Marshals.

“We always welcome any Nigerian who will want to assist us in the reduction of road crashes on our highways.

“We don’t believe that we can do this job alone. We believe we need the support of everybody in this country.

“And SWAN is a formidable association that we can equally leverage on to ensure that road safety is properly propagated,’’ he said.

Oyeyemi also solicited FCT SWAN partnership to ensure that drivers attached to football teams and clubs are adequately trained.

“Each time we hear that there is an accident involving players, we are always worried.

“The Corps Marshal has directed that we synergise with the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and other sports associations to ensure that all drivers conveying players are properly trained,’’ he said.

Earlier, Chidoka had asked the Corps to ensure that FCT SWAN members were attached to various FRSC sports teams for proper coverage of their activities and better results.

“We know that the FRSC is doing well in various sports, such as football, handball, tennis, athletics and voleyball, as well as others.

“Having looked at these programmes, we thought it wise to partner with FRCN to ensure that Nigeria get it right in the area of sports.

“Because when we don’t get it right in sports, it will affect us in all ramifications, talking about the nation’s youths and its workforce,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the FRSC handball women team, Safety Babes, won the first phase of the Prudent Energy Handball League recently.

Their male counterparts finished third in the league held in Abuja.(NAN)


Ogun: Truck Accidents Account for 129 Deaths in 2017- FRSC


Mr Clement Oladele, the Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ogun State Chapter, on Thursday said 129 deaths were recorded through truck accidents in the state in 2017.

Oladele disclosed this at a safety programme organised by “Temidayo Ogan Child Safety and Support Foundation,’’ an NGO, for schools in Abeokuta.

The topic of the debate is, “Road Safety Education More Effective Than Road Safety Enforcement.”

He noted that the command observed that 129 (or 61.4 per cent) out of the 210 traffic deaths recorded in 2017 involved trucks and articulated vehicles.

Oladele also said that the command had step up enforcement against route violation, failure to cover unstable materials, use of sub-standard tyres, drunk driving and other traffic offences common with truck and articulated vehicles.

He said the command was collaborating with Ogun State Branch of Truck Owners Association of Nigeria and the National Association of Road Transport Workers (NARTW) to educate drivers on traffic regulations.

“We are trying to reduce the dangers these trucks and articulated vehicles pose to road users, especially children going or returning from school,’’ he said.

According to him, early in 2017, the FRSC decided to improve its youth safety education by increasing its visits to primary and secondary schools in the state.

“The aim was to educate pupils and students on how to use the road safely.

“Our efforts have yielded fruits but with some sad occurrences; some of us will recall the ugly incident of February 24 where a truck crushed a Primary School pupil,” he said.

Oladele noted that the collaboration was not to underscore either road safety enforcement or road safety education, but to raise awareness of teachers and students to be road safety conscious.

He commended the NGO for its efforts over the years in promoting the safety of the Nigerian child, adding that the debate was the maiden edition and would be expanded in subsequent years.

Earlier, Mrs Temidayo Ogan, the Foundation’s Executive Director, said the programme was a special Children’s Day project that would promote global road safety and the United Nation’s SDG’s agenda 2030.

She explained that the event would now be yearly to mark Children’s day anniversary in Nigeria and promote population health in the country.

“The project included road safety awareness among school children, mental health safety awareness, public speaking skills, research and display of skills.

She said recent statistics by the WHO shows that approximately 1.25million people including women and children are killed by road clashes each year.


FRSC Certified 15 Transport Companies for 2017 Transport Safety Standard in Enugu


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The Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) on Thursday issued certificates to 15 transport companies in Enugu for meeting the requirement of the Transport Safety Standardisation scheme in 2017.

The Sector Commander, Mr Edward Zamber, who issued the certificates to the representatives of each certified transport company in Enugu, congratulated the recipients.

Zamber urged the certified transport operators not to relent in doing more in order to continue to save lives of their drivers, passengers and as well as their vehicles.

According to him, the issuance of the certificate is a call to do more so as to continue to save lives on Nigerian roads.

He said expressed delight at meeting more new people who had met the of minimum safety requirement of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation scheme which was spelt out in traffic laws and regulations.

Zamber explained that the responsibilities of FRSC include monitoring, certifying, registering and enforcing compliance on the roads.

He called on transporters to discourage the sales of alcohol in all motor parks in the state for the safety of their drivers and the passengers.

Earlier, Mrs Nwafor Obasi, the Assistant Corp Commander said that the number of the transport operators for 2016 was only three, adding that out of 35 transport companies in Enugu 15 companies were certified in 2017 for meeting the safety standard requirement.

Obasi urged the certified operators to put more effort to continue to ensure that the standard did not fall but they should try to improve on it continuously.

A representative of the transport operators, Mr Sunday Igwegbe of Peace Transport thanked the FRSC for finding them worthy and issuing the certificates based on their performances.

Some of the company certified are Peace Mass Transport, Autor Star, Good News, Enugu State Transport, Eastern Mass. (NAN)


A vulnerable Republican thinks homeowners should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher at the Orange County Board of Supervisors meeting on March 27, 2018, in Santa Ana, California.

“A homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”

California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican in one of the tightest races of his career, lost the support of realtors in his district after he told members of the Orange County Association of Realtors that homeowners should have the right to refuse to sell to LGBTQ buyers.

“Every homeowner should be able to make a decision not to sell their home to someone (if) they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” Rohrbacher said, according to the Orange County Register.

When the newspaper asked him to clarify his remarks, Rohrabacher added, “We’ve drawn a line on racism, but I don’t think we should extend that line,” and that “a homeowner should not be required to be in business with someone they think is doing something that is immoral.”

California is one of 20 states and the District of Columbia that bans state-level housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

But in the majority of states across the country, homeowners can (and do) refuse to sell homes to LGBTQ homebuyers. That’s because while current federal law prohibits housing discrimination based on based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, and national origin, the Fair Housing Act (FHA), established under the Civil Rights Act of 1968, does not include sexual orientation or gender identity.

The remarks came after Orange County realtors engaged in the National Association of Realtors’ annual lobbying event in Washington, DC. Members of the group met with Rohrabacher and urged him to support HR 1447, or the Fair and Equal Housing Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected from housing discrimination at the federal level.

The National Association of Realtors has withdrawn its endorsement of Rohrabacher.

source: vox

#Ramadan: ’Pull over in Case of Fatigue’, FRSC tells Drivers


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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has advised motorists to pull over in a safe place and take a rest in case of fatigue during the Ramadan fast.

The FRSC official said taking few minute rest as a safety measure, should be adhered to by drivers as it would relieve them of the usual fatigue associated with fasting.

Mr Philip Ozonnandi, the FRSC Unit Commander in Ore, gave this advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Ore, Ondo State.

He appealed to motorists to always obey traffic rules and regulations, adding that using the Ramadan period as an excuse to flout traffic rules would not be tolerated by FRSC officials.

“I will advise motorists especially our Muslim brothers to pull over and take some rest in a safe place on the highway when fatigue sets in as a result of the Ramadan fast.

“I think this is one of the safety tips against road crashes, fatigue is likely to cause sleep while on the wheels.

“Drivers should also obey all traffic rules on the highway as using Ramadan period to violate traffic rules will not stop the FRSC officials from performing their lawful duties,”Ozonnandi said.

The FRSC boss also urged all Muslim faithful to use the Ramadan period to pray for accident free period and the peace of Nigeria. (NAN)


World Cup goalkeeper’s choice should be on current form, confidence, Nigerians tell Rohr


Ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup in Russia, Nigerians have advised Coach Gernot Rohr to be guided by the current form in selecting Nigeria’s first-choice goalkeeper.
Some football enthusiasts who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, agreed that Rohr’s biggest headache going to Russia was in the area of goalkeeping.

The Eagles coach had, in his 30-man Provisional World Cup list released on May 14, listed four goalkeepers who would compete for the three available slots in the final 23-man World Cup list.

Enyimba FC of Aba goalkeeper and CHAN Eagles Captain, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, and Dele Ajiboye of Plateau United FC, were invited from the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).

Also invited were Chippa United FC of South Africa goalkeeper, Daniel Akpeyi and Francis Uzoho, who plies his trade with Deportivo de La Coruña in the Spanish La Liga.

While the majority of those who spoke to NAN expressed disappointment at the calibre of goalkeepers available to Nigeria for the football’s biggest fiesta, others believed that the coach had a game plan.

Former Super Eagles defender, Waidi Akanni, expressed confidence in the ability of the Eagles coaching crew to make an appropriate final decision in the goalkeeping department.

“The purpose of a training camp is to help the coach make such decisions. For me, I can’t say this particular goalkeeper or the other should be our first-choice goalkeeper,’’ he told NAN.

Akanni, who was a former Chairman of the Lagos Football Association, also pointed out that unforeseen circumstances could help determine who Rohr eventually gives the nod.

“Remember there are still going to be injury worries, fitness issues and other factors which will either make the coach’s job of choosing a keeper more difficult or easier.

“The coach has started well by calling up four good goalkeepers. I think in the coming weeks it will become clear first to the coach and then to Nigerians who our first-choice keeper will be in Russia,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, some regretted the unfortunate illness of Super Eagles first-choice goalkeeper, Karl Ikeme, who was diagnosed with acute Leukaemia in July 2017.

Chuks Ohuegbe, an Abuja-based lawyer, public affairs analyst and media consultant, told NAN that he didn’t expect much from any of the goalkeepers invited by coach Rohr.

“To be frank, I don’t have faith in any of the goalkeepers invited to camp by coach Rohr.

“However, if their goalkeeper trainers are really good, maybe they could be able to work on Francis Uzoho and Ikechukwu Ezenwa.

“Between the two, I’ll go for Uzoho because he plays with and against some of the best players in one of the best leagues in the world.

“Ezenwa would have been a good choice, but at crucial times his confidence lets him down,’’ he said.

Henry Okelue, a Digital Strategist and ICT Consultant based in Abuja, feels the Nigerian coaching crew had to be wary of the stars paraded by the Argentinians in his choice of a goalkeeper.

“We have a goalkeeper problem. Ezenwa is a good keeper, but he does not have the confidence he needs for a stage as big as the World Cup.

“He is most likely going to freeze against Argentina and Croatia. Uzoho is even more inexperienced than Ezenwa.

“What he has going for him though is being on the cards of a club in a top European league. Akpeyi has also shown he lacks experience,’’ he said.

He, however, suggested that the Super Eagles coach might have made that decision already.

“Considering that Rohr has used Uzoho in most of his friendlies shows he seems to have more confidence in him. That might just edge it in his favour.’’

NAN reports that the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off on June 14 in 12 venues and 11 host cities across Russia.

The Super Eagles are drawn in Group D alongside archrivals, Argentina, Croatia and Iceland.

They will open their account against Croatia on June 16 at the Kaliningrad Stadium, before taking on Iceland on June 22 and Argentina on June 26.

Argentina, who had previously met and defeated the Super Eagles at 1994, 2002, 2010 and 2014 editions of the World Cup, is tipped as one of the favourites to win the this year’s World Cup.


Popular singer, Adekunle Gold releases `About 30′


Urban highlife singer, Adekunle Gold after months of delay, has released his 2nd and sophomore album titled `About 30′.

His newly released album `About 30` which is expected to be another great hit from the artiste, is a follow up on his first album titled `Gold.`

Adekunle Gold with excitement made the announcement on his tweeter handle @adekunleGOLD on Friday .
He wrote: I am really emotional right now. “I could cry happy tears.

“This album, #About30, is a reflection of my heart, my fears, my pleasures, my pain, my losses and my faith.

“With the love you give me? I would do it again and again and again and one more time.

Some of the songs include: Ire, Down With You (feat. Dyo), Mr. Foolish (feat. Seun Kuti) Surrender, Damn Delilah, Yoyo (feat. Flavour), Money and Pablo Alakori.

He earlier released ‘Ire’, a song also added to the album, which was aimed at craving the appetite of his fans and it automatically became a hit song.

Unlike his debut album where the only featured artist was Simi, Adekunle Gold expanded his range working with the likes of DYO, Flavour, Seun Kuti and the Lagos Community Gospel Choir.

Meanwhile one of the songs, Damn Delilah, is already generating controversy on various social media platforms.


The NFL’s “take a knee” ban is flatly illegal

Members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest.

NFL team owners this week decided that players will no longer be allowed to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem. And if they do, they will be subject to punishment and their team will be subject to fines.

The owners did provide the players with an alternative, of sorts: If a player does not wish to stand and salute the flag, he can stay in the locker room and wait for the anthem to end. This new league policy is meant to enforce a particular vision of patriotism, one that involves compliance rather than freedom of expression.

The policy is also illegal — for a host of reasons.

The clearest illegality derives from the fact that the league adopted its new policy without bargaining with the players union. When employees, including football players, are represented by a union, the employer — including a football league — can’t change the terms of employment without discussing the change with the union. Doing so is a flagrant violation of the employer’s duty to bargain in good faith.

If, as the NFL Players Association says, the employer implemented this change on its own, the policy is flatly illegal for that reason and should be rescinded by the league.

Kneeling is also a workplace protest

But the new policy has other, deeper problems. Just this week, the Supreme Court issued a major decision that clarifies exactly why the players’ anthem protests are protected by our labor laws. In this decision, Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis, the Court concludes that the National Labor Relations Act is, at its core, designed to “protect things employees ‘just do’ for themselves in the course of exercising their right to free association in the workplace.” Put plainly, the Court holds that collective actions engaged in by employees at work are the heart of labor law’s concern.

In Epic, the Court uses this reasoning to hold that pursuing class-action arbitrations is not something labor law protects. Whether you accept that view or not — I do not — it is impossible to come up with a clearer example of something employees “just do for themselves” as a means of “exercising their right to free association in the workplace” than the anthem protests. They are a perfect example of the type of concerted activity that labor law is designed to protect.

Some might object that labor law does not protect these protests because they’re about something other than work: They’re about police brutality, or systemic racism, or the president’s view of what patriotism means. Of course, in some sense this is exactly what the protests are about. But in a more direct, literal sense, what the players are protesting is the requirement that they stand during the national anthem. That’s what the protest is: a refusal to stand.

Now that the owners have made it a workplace rule to stand during the anthem or stay in the locker room, any player who takes the field and takes a knee is protesting an employer rule. And that is unquestionably protected by federal labor law.

There is a potentially important caveat here, one that comes from a perverse and byzantine part of our labor law called the “partial strike” rule. A partial strike occurs when employees refuse to participate in only one workplace rule rather than ceasing to work entirely. Such strikes are not protected by the law.

This partial strike rule may mean that players who refuse to comply only with the anthem rule, but otherwise fulfill their obligations to the league, can be disciplined for doing so. The rule is perverse because any player who decided to protest the anthem rule by fully striking not playing at all — would be protected.

In a perfect world, we would get rid of this silly doctrine, but until that happens, if the owners chose to enforce the partial strike rule, they might just be prodding the protesting players toward a complete strike.

The free speech case is also strong — especially given Trump’s involvement

Finally, there is a serious free speech problem with the owners’ rule. In general, the constitutional right to free speech applies only to censorship by government entities, not to what a private sector employer like the NFL does. But there are two reasons why the players have a viable free speech claim.

The first is that the president of the United States has been actively involved in the league’s decision-making process. In an earlier round of the protest dispute, President Trump called on the league to discipline Colin Kaepernick for his leadership of the anthem protests and threatened to use the tax code to punish the NFL if they allowed them to continue. Vice President Mike Pence walked out of a 49ers game where anthem protests were planned.

What’s more, the owners have made clear that their adoption of the new rule was made in response to presidential intervention: They believe that if they do not ban the protests, the president will continue to make the protests a national issue and thereby negatively affect the league’s income stream.

As Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Sports Illustrated, Trump “certainly initiated some of the thinking, and was a part of the entire picture.” When the president and vice president of the United States are this intimately involved in encouraging a private employer to adopt a workplace rule, the Constitution should have something to say.

Applying the Constitution in this context is justified but would require judges to break some new legal ground. But even if the courts refuse to apply the Constitution directly here, the players ought to have at their disposal another powerful legal tool. The law of most states declares that employers may not fire, or otherwise discipline, employees for reasons that violate the state’s public policies.

That’s why, for example, employees cannot be fired for fulfilling jury duty, or for refusing to perjure themselves on the employer’s behalf. If an employee is disciplined for one of these reasons, he is entitled to sue the employer (through what’s called a public policy tort).

It is hard to imagine a public policy — in whatever state you choose — more important than the policy in favor of free speech on matters of public concern. Indeed, this public policy is enshrined in the constitution of every state in the nation. Given that freedom of speech is one of our most important public policies, courts should follow the lead of its famous Novosel decision, which held that an insurance company worker who declined to lobby legislators for a particular bill as the company had requested, and who stated his opposition to that bill, could not be dismissed.

The upshot of that decision is that an employer that disciplines an employee for engaging in peaceful speech has disciplined an employee in violation of public policy.

There would, of course, need to be limitations on this rule, and not everything an employee says regardless of context or form could be protected. But the NFL anthem protests are not a tough case. We have players engaged in fully peaceful speech acts, on a subject of core national importance, and in a context where they are literally debating with the president and vice president of the United States.

Given these facts, if the NFL takes action against the players, the league will violate public policy and should accordingly be vulnerable to legal action.

Benjamin Sachs is the Kestnbaum professor of labor and industry at Harvard Law School.

The Big Idea is Vox’s home for smart discussion of the most important issues and ideas in politics, science, and culture — typically by outside contributors. If you have an idea for a piece, pitch us at thebigidea@vox.com.

source: vox

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Be proud of your country’s values – US Ambassador advises Nigerians


The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr William Symington, has called on Nigerians to be proud of their values, heritage and culture to propel the country to a greater height.

Mr William Symington, American Ambassador to Nigeria during his visit to Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Credit: ScanNews

Symington made the call in Abuja on Friday during his courtesy visit to Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator-General of the National Parks Service (PKS).

He said Nigerians should love their country and everything it stood for, stressing that if they failed to preserve the nation, no one would call himself or herself a Nigerian.

“Although there is great trouble, and it has affected many, but if you like being a Nigerian, you must protect its symbols and resources.

“These symbols include your values, culture, water; trees, animals, natural heritage etc because in these symbols, you will find a point of reference, a point of pride as well as of common interest.

“As you think about the country it is nice not just to have an appreciation of the people of the country, it is also nice to have an appreciation of the country itself.’’

He said that the idea of the National Parks was a very welcome development that would add to the economic development of the country.

“Think of ways people can make a living from things that are beautiful in your parks.

“There are people around the world who will pay thousands of dollars a day to go to places like your parks, stay overnight and be guided to look at the natures at the park.

“What I have seen here is extraordinary, it is like a stream that never runs out, it is like a land you farm in a way that it can continue to regenerate forever.’’

According to Symington, any Nigerian can talk about what he has but, most importantly, must talk about what he must have as Nigerian.

“It is your job to protect the values and what you have as a nation. It is not about the past but the future and the preservation of both the present and its future.

“Give people reasons to be proud of their natural endowments by God at your parks without destroying them.

“Preservation of nature is like working in an incredible factory, producing extraordinary goods and saying I am not going to destroy the factory I am going to add value to it and leave it for generations to come.’’

He advised the parks service to share its experience with the people of Nigeria to understand and appreciate what they have to offer.

“I think that the future of Nigeria depends not just on Nigerians being proud of being Nigerian, but of Nigerians being proud of where they are, what they have and what you preserve.

“They cannot be proud of what they do not know, so bringing them to the Parks is the key,’’ he said.

Responding, Goni thanked the Ambassador for the visit and for the approval granted to three officers of the service to attend an investigative wildlife trafficking course in Botswana.

He also solicited for more patronage and partnership with the US to elevate the parks to international standard and improve revenue generation.

Some of the highlights of the visit were the planting of a tree by the envoy to commemorate his visit, sightseeing of the mini-park and an inspection of guard of honour.


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The EPA’s increasing hostility toward the press, explained

The EPA under Scott Pruitt increasingly treats the press like the enemy.

Guards shoved a reporter out of the EPA building this week. It’s just the latest example of the agency’s antagonism to the media.

A national summit on drinking water contaminants at the Environmental Protection Agency this week was so exclusive that reporters from E&E News and CNN were turned away at the gates.

EPA guards didn’t just keep some reporters out of the meeting; they shoved one reporter trying to cover it, the Associated Press’s Ellen Knickmeyer.

And it wasn’t just reporters who got bounced from the event where officials were discussing new possible regulations on substances that contaminate drinking water. Congressional staffers representing parts of the country dealing with severe water issues, including Flint, Michigan, weren’t allowed in either.

While some outlets, including Politico and Bloomberg BNA, were permitted to cover the Tuesday morning session, the EPA blatantly excluded others, pitting reporters who cover the agency against one another (full disclosure: I’m friends with several of them).

The following day, no reporters were allowed in, even the ones who were let into the earlier session. When reporters raised a stink, the EPA said there was a limited capacity at the event on the first day and the second day of the event was for government officials only and did not constitute a public hearing.

But let’s be clear: The EPA is a public agency responsible for protecting the health of Americans, and this week we saw it limiting media coverage and trying to shield its work from scrutiny.

It’s not surprising that the EPA is trying to control press coverage to protect its administrator, the scandal-plagued Scott Pruitt, who is facing more than a dozen federal audits, inquiries, and investigations. But the EPA is also throttling media access to its work on everything from toxic chemicals in drinking water to limiting the science used to develop regulations.

The EPA’s adversarial relationship with the press is nothing new and predates the Trump administration. What is different about the current administration is how much further it has gone, antagonizing reporters and even being openly hostile toward them while trying to shroud the agency’s activities in secrecy.

In trying to avoid a PR nightmare, the EPA created another one

This week’s summit was convened to discuss per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, a.k.a. PFAS. These are synthetic chemicals used in everything from stain-resistant fabrics to nonstick pans.

There are concerns that these compounds could cause cancer, immune deficiencies, and thyroid problems when you ingest them, but the question is how much is safe. According to the Environmental Working Group, 110 million people could be drinking PFAS-contaminated water.

Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services was preparing to release a study from its Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry looking at two PFAS varieties, PFOA and PFOS. These chemicals have been leaching into groundwater around 126 military bases above levels that the EPA considers safe, but the new study found that the safe limit for these chemicals is actually 10 times lower, as low as 12 parts per trillion.

Politico obtained emails that showed the White House and the EPA scrambling to block the release of the study, which one unnamed official at the White House Office of Management and Budget described as a “public relations nightmare.”

“The impact to EPA and [the Department of Defense] is going to be extremely painful,” the official wrote.

So the EPA was on high alert going into the two-day summit, which was convened to hear from industry groups, environmental groups, and states as to how PFAS should be governed.

Hence the tight limits on the press. Even the reporters who were allowed in Tuesday morning were initially not permitted to stay for the whole event.

The EPA’s excuse was that there wasn’t enough room for all the press and parts of the event were live-streamed, though a reporter inside noted there were plenty of open seats:

However, after the story of Knickmeyer’s physical removal from the building gained legs, the EPA relented and allowed all media to attend the afternoon portion of the event.

Lincoln Ferguson, a senior advisor to Pruitt, also called Knickmeyer to apologize. But the second day of the PFAS summit on Wednesday was completely closed to press.

Press groups like Society of Environmental Journalists were none too pleased with the whole ordeal.

“It beggars understanding that the EPA would prevent any reporters from covering a topic of such intense nationwide interest and concern,” they wrote in a letter to the EPA this week about the summit. “But these are just the latest additions to your pattern of antagonism toward the press, and disregard for the public’s right to know what EPA is or is not doing to protect their health and the environment.”

Like the White House, the EPA sees the media as the enemy

The EPA’s adversarial relationship with the press is nothing new and predates the Trump administration. I’ve directly or indirectly covered the EPA for six years, and the agency has always been defensive and slow to respond to inquiries, if it bothered to respond at all, and would often direct me to press releases rather than making officials available to comment.

Once in 2015, I was speaking to an EPA scientist after a hearing on Capitol Hill. As the scientist was answering some of my questions, an EPA press official stepped in between us and cut him off mid-sentence and told me I would have to direct all my questions to the press office. The office then never responded to my follow-up.

Reporters covering the EPA in the past have also seen the agency leak their scoops to other outlets when reporters did their due diligence in asking for comments before publishing a story.

But President Trump has used the media as his favorite punching bag, and that attitude has spread throughout his administration, including the EPA, which is now behaving as if it’s on war footing with the press and operating with unprecedented secrecy.

In addition to surrounding himself with a full-time 20-person security detail that costs $3 million a year and building a $43,000 soundproof phone booth in his office, Administrator Pruitt doesn’t release his public schedule, leaving the press to determine his whereabouts after the fact. This is in contrast to his predecessors, or even other administration officials (the State Department sends out an advance schedule for top officials every night, for example).

Pruitt has also barred media from important EPA events, including an announcement for a new initiative for transparency in the science used in devising regulations. The agency is now even less responsive to press questions (only a third of my inquiries this year have generated any kind of response at all) and is selectively sending out press releases to various news outlets and withholding them from others.

Mother Jones reported that Pruitt approved and then scrapped a $120,000 no-bid contract last year with an opposition research firm for an “aggressive style of campaign-style delivery of real-time coverage” of how news outlets reported on the EPA.

And EPA press officials themselves have been startlingly hostile to reporters.

This week’s incident wasn’t even the first time the agency attacked the Associated Press. The EPA’s press shop has repeatedly disparaged reporter Michael Biesecker.

“Michael very rarely opens a positive story about Scott Pruitt,” an EPA official told the Washington Post. “He only opens stories where he tries to create problems.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, Biesecker reported on the EPA’s highly polluted Superfund sites around Houston affected by the storm, noting that some sites experienced damage, threatening water contamination, and that the EPA hadn’t made it to the scene.

The EPA then put out a press release criticizing Biesecker personally.

“Despite reporting from the comfort of Washington, Biesecker had the audacity to imply that agencies aren’t being responsive to the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey,” according to the release. “Not only is this inaccurate, but it creates panic and politicizes the hard work of first responders who are actually in the affected area.”

This was despite the fact that the AP sent reporters to seven Superfund sites in person to survey the damage. The agency also didn’t dispute any of the reported facts in the story. Nonetheless, the press release boosted morale at the EPA, signaling just how much the agency sees the press as the opposition. “I was with 20 to 30 career folks who were appalled by the [AP] story and they nearly teared up when [the] press release went out,” an agency official told the Washington Post.

The Associated Press is not the only outlet to be singled out by the EPA.

When New York Times reporter Eric Lipton asked the EPA for comments on his story about how a former staffer for the American Chemistry Council, a lobbying group for the chemicals industry, was now at the EPA weakening PFOA regulations, the agency’s press office stalled for weeks, before responding with a whine.

“No matter how much information we give you, you would never write a fair piece,” then-EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman wrote to Lipton. “The only thing inappropriate and biased is your continued fixation on writing elitist clickbait trying to attack qualified professionals committed to serving their country.”

Bowman herself spent four years working at the ACC and is now working for Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA).

The EPA’s press shop has also tried to pit reporters against one another. When Lipton contacted a spokesperson to confirm details reported by other outlets, the spokesperson accused him of trying to “steal work from other outlets and pretend like it’s your own reporting” and then forwarded the message to other reporters from USA Today and E&E News.

Unlike with White House reporters, there is no official pool system with EPA reporters to share their work. The EPA and Pruitt have taken advantage of that, granting more access, documents, and interviews to conservative media outlets and friendly journalists to shape press coverage.

Some reporters are now informally keeping tabs on the agency together and occasionally tipping off others to events, a rare occurrence in a notoriously competitive industry:

This week’s incident with the press at the PFAS summit has once again brought unwanted attention to the EPA, which in another world might call Pruitt’s leadership into question. But under Trump, who loves to pick fights with the media, the ordeal is unlikely to register at the White House. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to comment on the issue Tuesday at a press briefing.

“I’m not going to weigh into random hypotheticals that may or may not exist,” she said. “I don’t know any information about this specific incident.”

But some in Congress want the EPA’s inspector general to review this week’s incidents with the press, adding yet another investigation to the growing list:

The EPA did not respond to a request for comment on this article.

source: vox

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